Monday, December 03, 2018

The Color of the Day

—Photos by Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

—Michael Brownstein, Chicago, IL

They lived on the edge of the graveyard
Their yard lit by spirit light
Their side door always welcoming.
They kept their garden courteous
And they never deceived or angered.
Their home was not rooted in dispute,
Their evening walks samples of simplicity.
They held hands long into their years,
Spoke to few and kept to themselves,
Ate what they grew and ate simply.
We did not know of their death
Until the lights from the edge careened
Outwards, stopping traffic nearby
And causing havoc near the hills.
Their door was wide open, lights
Were in motion, and they were seated
Comfortably on comfortable chairs,
Dinner before them. They must have
Passed away together, hand in hand.
Go past their home now and hold
Your breath. You know they are
Watching and remember—this is important—
If you are with someone you like,
Never walk past their house
Without holding the other’s hand.

—Michael Brownstein
Let us rise and shine
and see the color of the day.
dawn is drawn in wine—
let us rise and shine,
enter the Antigua blue design,
find the turquoise water of the bay:
Let us rise and shine
and see the color of the day.

*A 13th-century French poetic form

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

Flipping through another magazine
I see some pretty actresses
As they’ve made the scene,
Showing off some skin
In glamourous dresses,
Sidling their boyfriends.
Later, there’s caresses,
I assume.

Shifting to the cell phone
For the news—
A way to pass the time away,
Escaping doldrums’ blues.

Time spent alone on a train
Coming and going
Thinking things one thinks
When so alone,
Surrounded by so many,
Going home
When it’s getting dark. 

—Joseph Nolan

Your place
Looked lovely
In the summer,

When the rain
Washed down
The tree leaves,

When the heat
Was just

And no-one
Ever wandered
Down the street
In pouring rain,

But I loved
Sweet September--
Indian Summer,
Warm and plain,

When it seldom,
If ever,

And grass
Went brown
From the
Farmers’ fields,
All the way
Into town.

—Joseph Nolan

Angels have always known
And they are knowing still,
Strengths and weaknesses
Inside of men,
Things twisted and broken,
Wounds unhealed,
All secrets revealed
In the light of
Twenty-thousand suns
Focused to a single point
Of penetrating light
That shines through skin,
Through bone,
And all within,
In the burning clarity
Of an angel’s eye,
Contrasting you with Eternity,
Your life
And the place you will lie
When your life is done
Angels have always known,
And Angels are knowing,

They can see the ash
Of things that burned away
Inside a man,
Ground down—
Things lost, released, abandoned.

Angels say,
“Don’t beguile yourself
With manufacturing
Your own internal shadows,
Or confuse yourself
With imagining
The opaque
Might remain so,
Before the brightest light
That pours past every whirling atom
Throughout the day
And even through the night.”

—Joseph Nolan

The wise fool
The crazy sage
Rumpelstiltskin laughs,
He wants his fee,
A newborn baby
For his posterity.
How horrible
Contracts can be!

I wake with sandy eyes.
I hear a baby cry
In the next room.
I am so relieved.
Such strange dreams!
Where do they come from? 

Some would say I was lying, and
others that I was laying, anyways I
was in a bed in ICU, sometime after
10 days in a coma they tell me, with
a full left-leg cast and a big bandage
wrapped several times around my
right thumb

They asked me to wiggle my toes
and were joyously happy that I could

I have zero memory of the fateful
motorcycle crash, and was later
told by some kind of “mental expert”
that if I had actually seen the car hit
me, or witnessed being hurled 45 feet
till I landed head first on the pavement,
that the very trauma of the experience
would likely have blocked that from my

Why, oh why, is that mental protective
feature not working now, when we have
taken the kindergarten class clown and
put him in charge of the White House?

After reading “Cover Design As
A Torn Page” by Joyce Odam,
Medusa’s Kitchen, 11/27/18

Kids today navigate whole
libraries of databases held on
little microchips, built into one
or another pocket device.

No more need at all for those big,
heavy books to look up a fact or
a phone number, no more need
for stone tablets in backpacks.

The open invitation to “correct me
if I’m wrong” has now become a
solo scenario, the quiet, covert
pressing of a few buttons.

Pose with me for a selfie and
then we are done here…
you own the world, right in your



Born to rich parents
who hire the best advisers
to create the right optics
so we look less like misers

“Thoughtful” is measured in
rounded dollars, skip the cents
they are beneath our calling
like loose ladies for the gents

Problems disappear because
we hire strength and grit,
owning land gives us money and
clout…that about settles it.


Accidents all, no good cards
show up in our deck,
our dream is to rise to living
paycheck to paycheck

A dilapidated derby is our
fancy three-cornered hat,
broken mirrors never lie, and
that about settles that!


(sung insincerely to the tune of
"Away in a Manger")

Alone in a tower, no wife in the bed 
Petty Tyrant Donald paid a whore, it was said
Media up high recounted each throb 
Petty Tyrant Donald, asleep on the job.

The stories are flowing, The Donald awakes 
Petty Tyrant Donald, no crying he makes
I love me, white hero, he looks in the mirror 
Let’s rest in my tower till morning is here.

Please hear me, white woman, I ask you to stay 
Close by me for awhile, and love what I pay
Hope all the dear white folks in my tender care 
Don’t open that tower to clear the foul air.


This is going to take some imagination
as if you are an envelope, and someone
is going to push you and contort you in
ways that you really didn’t anticipate.

Let’s just ponder the advantages of
replacing our real estate tycoon president
with a truck driver:  big semi, tractor double
trailer, loaded, and consider how much
better off our whole nation would be.

Such a driver would professionally check
the rig to make sure it is trip-ready, not
leaving significant gaps for others to later
find and fix, and negotiate that behemoth
machine along steep, winding, challenging
highways, always keeping focus on the road,
much, much too concerned with precision
maneuvers than to waste any precious time
or energy finding new ways to shame people,
or separate families, or tweet messages
meant only to hurt people.

And for this driver, backing up is something
done artfully to contribute to a healthy stream
of commerce, not as an afterthought to take
back those sharp barbs thrown in hateful tirades. 

Dream on.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joseph Nolan

I dream of marsupials
Clinging to a tree
Eating eucalyptus
They can get for free.

I dream of cute koalas,
Cute as they can be!
Eating eucalyptus,
Clinging to a tree.

What’s all this to me?
It’s only what I dream.
I’m fond of cute koalas
And eucalyptus trees.


Our thanks to today’s contributors for today’s poetry and to Caschwa (Carl Schwartz), in addition, for his photos! Poetry events in our area begin tonight at Sac. Poetry Center with readers from the latest issue of
American River Review, 7:30pm. On Tuesday, 5-7pm, Poetry Off-the-Shelves will meet at the El Dorado Hills library on Silva Valley Pkwy in El Dorado Hills.

Thursday, in addition to Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe in Sacramento, 8pm (featured readers and open mic), chill out with the Love Jones Chill Night of love poetry at Laughs Unlimited in Old Sacramento, 8-10pm. Then on Saturday, the Second Saturday Reception from 2-8pm at the Sac. Poetry Center Gallery will feature Women’s Wisdom Art, including the Cowgirl Sweethearts performing music from 4-8pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.



Celebrate poetry—and read relentlessly!

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